January 31, 2018 / 12:51 PM / in a year

Scotland prop Jon Welsh back to face Wales in Six Nations

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland recalled prop Jon Welsh for his first test since the last World Cup as they named their team on Wednesday for the Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Injuries among the front rowers means a return for the 31-year-old for the first time since the 2015 World Cup.

At that tournament, Welsh was penalised for being offside to hand Australia a late penalty to win their quarter-final in a controversial decision World Rugby later said was wrong.

Welsh is among six changes to the side that beat Australia as Scotland seek to build on the momentum of three strong home performances in November when they defeated Samoa, almost upset world champions New Zealand and thrashed the Wallabies.

Scotland’s 36-year-old hooker Scott Lawson, who has not played an international since 2014, provides cover on the bench in a further reflection of the selection crisis among the forwards for coach Gregor Townsend.

Fullback Stuart Hogg returns after missing the 53-24 win over Australia at Murrayfield, with Greig Laidlaw among the substitutes having not played for Scotland since the last Six Nations.

Chris Harris starts for the first time with Huw Jones being moved to inside centre to accommodate him.

“We’ve selected a squad that we believe can start the Six Nations with the intensity and speed required to win in Cardiff,” Townsend told a news conference on Wednesday.

“Last year’s championship highlighted that every game is a fierce competition and that all teams have to play at their very best to win away from home. Delivering that level of performance has been firmly in our thoughts during our preparations this week.

“We’re expecting a really physical game against a very good team. Wales have one of the best defences in the game and an attack that sees forwards passing much more and a structure that enables backs to get on ball,” the coach added.

Scotland have lost their previous eight away games against Wales in the Six Nations, last winning 27-22 in Cardiff in 2002.

Scotland team:

15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Tommy Seymour, 13-Chris Harris, 12-Huw Jones, 11-Byron McGuigan, 10-Finn Russell, 9-Ali Price, 8-Cornell du Preez, 7-Hamish Watson, 6-John Barclay (captain), 5-Jonny Gray, 4-Ben Toolis, 3-Jon Welsh, 2-Stuart McInally, 1-Gordon Reid

Replacements: 16-Scott Lawson, 17-Jamie Bhatti, 18-Murray McCallum, 19-Grant Gilchrist, 20-Ryan Wilson, 21-Greig Laidlaw, 22-Pete Horne, 23-Sean Maitland.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris

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